Friday, October 28, 2011

Be Sweet


On a trip through the south a few years ago, we were staying in a campground with our grouchy, suspicious rescued dog, Lucy. She barked at everyone, and we felt bad about it, but there wasn't much we could do. She had a lot of "past life" stuff to work through. At some point, a cheery looking woman walked by, said hello to us, and then directly to Lucy said, "Ya'll be sweet now!" It was one of the dearest things I've ever heard anyone say, and we've adopted it as our own.

We've had Lucy for almost 10 years now, and she's much happier than she used to be. I still don't trust her with kids, but she generally warms up to new people pretty quickly now, as long as they go slow and let her come to them. Her past life, whatever it was, seems to have faded in the distance, and we're more of a happy family than I ever would have imagined.

I'm a firm believer in adopting animals from shelters. I'm also a firm believer in sweetness. So when I came across Rescue Chocolate this morning, I was pretty darn pleased. This is a company in Brooklyn, NY that makes handcrafted 100% vegan chocolate, and donates 100% of the net profits to animal rescue organizations around the country. Everybody wins! I ordered some! Check out the website for yourself, and most of all, Ya'll be sweet now!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Earthlings

I started out with the intention of posting this entry on PositivelyVegan, but then realized it might not quite come across as "positive" to a lot of people. Bear with me. Nobody ever said positivity was easy. Positive steps forward sometimes take us through some difficult terrain, but that doesn't mean we should avoid those steps. Walk with me here... or skip over it if you want to. 

I don't think of myself as an Animal Rights Activist. I adopt dogs who need homes, I save my vegetable scraps for my neighbor's chickens, I don't buy clothes or shoes that are made out of animals, and I certainly don't eat animals. I try not to be too much of a Vegan Evangelist about it, although sometimes I just can't help myself. We all learn at our own pace, and I know a lot of people just don't want to know the realities behind the food they eat. It's easier to maintain the disconnect between ourselves and the animals. It's easier not to think about it. But the deeper I explore and create my own vegan life, and the more I absorb the information that's out there, the more I feel a certain responsibility to share what I'm learning.

I watched the film Earthlings recently. Maybe you've seen it, or heard about it. I didn't want to watch it, but I felt like I had to because I wanted to recommend it to others. I already knew a lot of what was presented in the film, but I knew I had to put myself through the discomfort of actually seeing it. It was difficult. Really difficult. But I made it through, and my resolve to do my small part to make the world better simply with my choices in food is now that much stronger.

I realize many people feel perfectly justified in loving the animals in their homes, and ignoring what actually happens to the animals they eat. I can't change that, and I know those are the people who are probably going to yell at me after reading this - if they read it. Here's my deal - you don't get to yell at me until you've watched the movie. Take it or leave it. It's my blog.

I also know there are a lot of people who are sort of on the vegan fence. They (maybe you) are inclined towards a more veggie lifestyle, but haven't yet found a really good reason to make that leap. Your health is an excellent reason, and maybe the most important one to consider, because when we take excellent care of ourselves, we're better able to take excellent care of others. The environmental reasons for going vegan are pretty compelling too. But if you're one of those people who "loves animals", cares for them, adopts them, and sticks up for them, your reason for going vegan might just be found in watching Earthlings.

Fair warning, if you have a heart at all, this film will make you cry. I found myself sobbing and apologizing to the animals on the screen. I was truly shocked by what I saw. And if shock is what you need to nudge you from one side of the fence to the other, Earthlings is your movie.

You can stream the entire film online, free, at http://www.earthlings.com/

Brace yourself. You will be changed for the better.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Forward This

There's something I assumed everybody knew, but many were choosing to ignore. You see it everywhere. Emails and forwards sent to large groups of people, or even entire mailing lists, with everyone's address exposed and naked in the glow of the computer screen. In addition to this, there are often several chunks of addresses and other gunk to scroll through before you even get to the message you may or may not be interested in reading. I get a lot of email, so I get a lot of forwarded stuff, and to be honest, I usually delete these without reading them, especially if they're sent in a sloppy manner.

As I said, I assumed everyone knew how to send a group email, but more than one friend has asked me how to do this recently, so I began to wonder. I have very smart friends, so if they didn't know, it follows that a lot of other people also don't know. I can help.

First of all, please stop forwarding email warnings of Terrible Things. They're almost always hoaxes, designed to keep us living in fear, and we really don't need to participate in that. If you think something might be of valid concern, please check it out on one of the many hoax-exposing websites first. Two of my favorites are Snopes, and HoaxBusters. If you find something you really need to warn all your friends, family, and acquaintances about, or if you just have to share those pictures of cute furry animals, or the latest holiday jokes, the next step is to do it respectfully. Nobody wants their email address made available to the entire world, which can happen if an email gets forwarded many, many times, and wanders into the hands of countless total strangers.

First I'll explain how to send an original email of your very own to a group of people. Write your email, attach your pictures or whatever, and proof read it so you sound smart and thoughtful. A great trick is to read it out loud to yourself, which really helps you hear how it will sound in your reader's heads. When it's ready to go, address it first to yourself, and only yourself, in the "To" box. Then add everyone else's address in the "Bcc" box. This is a Blind Carbon Copy, which hides all the addresses from everyone who receives the email. A brilliant invention, so polite and civilized.


The process for forwarding is basically the same. Click "forward," and again put only your own address in the "To" box, and all the others in a "Bcc." Then highlight and delete all the clutter at the beginning of the message, like addresses that were attached to it when it was sent to you. Clean it up before you send it! It only takes a few seconds.

Simple, yes? I hope I've been of some public service today. Happy emailing to you!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Eating Art

Taos is an art town. Everywhere you go, you see art, hear about art, and meet artists of all kinds. It's a beautiful and inspiring place that attracts some very special people, and encourages those who come here to see the world in new ways. After all my time here, I still love to go outside and just look around. It's constantly changing from moment to moment, and day to day. And over time, my eyes are learning to see even the most ordinary things as art.

I would spend a lot more time in my kitchen if I could, and I imagine that someday I will. There was a time when I dreamed of beads and what I would make the next day in the studio. Now I dream of beautiful food that wants to be created. This is not to say that beads are "over" in any way, but they do have some serious competition for my affections and creative energy. My focus is shifting, and certainly my artistic medium is shifting with it. I go to the farmers market, or any given produce department, and see works I'd almost rather frame than eat. I take pictures of beautifully displayed radishes, in shades of pink, lavender, and white, or of giant zucchinis I'm grateful I don't have to make endless loaves of bread out of. I'll buy vegetables I have no idea what to do with, just because they are beautiful and I must possess them. And when I'm cooking, I often get distracted and stop to photograph something before I can bear to chop it to bits and stir-fry it.

Last night I decided to make a "simple" shepherd's pie, which turned out to not be simple at all, and took even longer than I expected because I got all smitten with another cauliflower leaf. They get me every time. So pale and delicate and perfect. Sigh... I stopped all food prep to get a picture while the Taos light was still just right, slanting in through the window just before sunset. The eventual dinner was good, but too complicated to write about for now. At least I got the picture...


Last weekend I fell head over heels in love with a Romanesco Broccoli, and took it home like it was an adorable puppy. I took pictures of it, and posted one of Facebook, where a friend pointed me to a link telling me what it was. It's still in my refrigerator, and although I hate the thought of dismantling it's fabulously fractaled form, I hate the thought of letting it go to waste even more. I'm considering a simple pasta dish with cheese sauce and  a drizzle of basil pesto. Or maybe a stir-fry with exotic black rice to contrast with the gorgeous green. While I decide, I'll take a few more pictures...




Monday, October 17, 2011

Bead News

The following is the note I sent out to my VIB Lounge Mailing List this morning. I'm posting it here because I think there are some of you who might be interested in beads, but don't want to be on a regular mailing list. I get it! I regularly remove myself from lists, because too much email is just too hard to keep up with...


Good Morning, and Happy Monday!
I know... some of you don't like Mondays. I do. It's a fresh week, with lots to be done, and fun to be had... if you look at it that way!

I have lots of gorgeous new beads posted for you in the BeadShop, and am attempting to kick myself into high gear to get ready for the Holidays.
175.JPG

And now for the Payment News...
I've been noticing a lot of people feeling squeamish about using credit cards and online payments. More and more people are even taking their money out of banks altogether, and moving to a cash basis on almost everything. As the world changes, we either adjust or freak out. I like the idea of changing with the times, so I've decided to offer a payment option other than PayPal. I'll now be accepting Money Orders and Cashier's Checks! 

To shop this new way, you'll have to send me an email telling me what beads you want. If they are still available, I'll mark them as sold on the website, and send you a total by email, along with my address. I'll let you know when your payment arrives (Money Orders and Cashier's Checks only - no personal checks), and will mail your beads after that, usually within a day or two. I'd appreciate it if you'd send your payment within 3 days, so I don't have a lot of packages stacked up here waiting to be shipped. Also, since this is a "lower tech" way of doing things, you might not get the beads you want if someone else buys them through the shopping cart before I get your email. I can't keep close track of incoming email when I'm in the studio. It would be dangerous! So if you really, really want the beads, it's best to use the shopping cart and PayPal.  

Let's see how this works, and as always, I'll make adjustments as we go along.
Thanks for being there. Whether you're buying or just looking, I appreciate the company!

xo Kim

175.JPG

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Kim's Favorite Things

So the shoes in my last post were fun, but certainly not practical - in Taos, or in my lifestyle. I can just see myself tottering along in the gravel and mud trying not to damage my cute shoes. I do have some cute shoes, mind you, but they patiently wait in the closet for a night on the town, or out of town, when there's more pavement than sagebrush.

As I wander through my days, I notice things that make things easier and happier. Like Oprah, I have an ever-growing list of Favorite Things. The difference in our lists is that mine is mostly practical, and almost always inexpensive. You wouldn't be all that excited to be on my "show" the day I'm giving away all my Favorite Things. No big TVs or cars or spa vacations. Heck, I'd like to win some of those things! But in your own life, without all the lights and cameras, I think you might enjoy some of my finds as much as I do. So I'm going to start sharing them with you, one at a time, as I notice them or discover them. I hope you'll enjoy Kim's Favorite Things...

First up, a Thing I use often. In fact I use it almost every time we have a sunny day, which is quite often in Taos. It's this dandy little PRESSA folding, hanging, dryer-thingy from Ikea. And it costs a whopping $4.99. I bought it when we were RVing, and did a lot of hand washing of laundry, but it's proven to be super useful back in our house.


We have a washing machine, but no dryer. Well, that's not exactly true - we have a "solar dryer," which some people call a "clothesline." We don't really have room for a clothes drying machine, and to be honest, I would feel sort of silly using one when we have all this perfectly good sunshine, which actually dries the clothes faster than the machine, and makes them smell wonderful too. Besides, I actually enjoy going outside and hanging things up with wooden clothespins. The downside is, I can't do laundry on cloudy days, but so what? This isn't Seattle. And in the frozen winter, even on sunny days wet clothes would freeze rather than dry out there, so I hang them around the living room, where they dry quickly by the huge south-facing windows.

But back to the PRESSA. A full load of wash will quickly fill up my two outdoor lines, and this little gizmo adds a lot of extra hanging space, with 16 little springy hooks that hold tight to things like socks, undies, and cloth napkins. What else can I say? I love this thing.

The sad part, for me at least, is you can't buy it online. You have to go to an Ikea store. I got mine when we were passing through Salt Lake City last year, and I wish I'd bought two. If you happen to go to Ikea to get one of these, will you please pick one up for me? I could really use it in the kitchen, to hang up washed plastic bags for re-use.

~~~

Today on PositivelyVegan - Chef Bo Rinaldi

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Wild Shoes

The question is not, But where will I wear them? The question is, Which ones to choose first? Most of my clothes are black, so my options are wide open here. Must be another symptom of this crazy Fall-Spring Fever...




I'm particularly drawn to the skully designs, probably because I live in New Mexico, and because it's October and Dia de Los Muertos is coming up fast. I really think I need the proper shoes for the occasion. Get your own wild shoe fix from Iron Fist at Polyvore.com

And yes, of course they are genuine not-leather.
 

~~~ 
Today on PositivelyVegan, Nut Cheese!



Monday, October 10, 2011

Seeds

I've got to get serious about making some beads. I will. Today. Later. I feel like I have spring fever in the fall. I can't concentrate on my "work." I just want to play and cook and do anything but go to the studio. I know it's time for a new career, but I don't want to abandon beads completely. There's some balancing to be done, and it can only be done day by day, or even moment by moment.

I went to an art opening the other night, for a show called SEED. It's inspired by the book Seeds, by Rob Kesseler and Wolfgang Stuppy. Look at the cover. This is so beautiful.


Today I want this book. I want it to magically appear at my studio door, and I want to sit with it for the afternoon, in a sunny window, with many cups of earl grey tea. I want the images of all those wondrous, mysterious seeds to work their way into my subconscious, and sprout as new ideas and inspirations. I want to make brightly colored beads with spikes and thorns and knobs. Impractical beads that can't be worn. I'm so weary of being practical. I want to throw it all in the air and see where it lands. I want to see what can grow in this darkening part of the year.

Of course my inner boss has already slapped that idea down, reminding me that a girl's gotta make a living. But maybe she'll get distracted today. And maybe I can sneak in some time to make something just for the fun of it, something nobody will want, something just to make my own heart sing.

~~~

I spent yesterday writing a week's worth of entries for PositivelyVegan. Today we have DIY Almond Milk. And tomorrow, cheese!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Wind and Cupcakes


The wind is blowing from a strange direction that looks and sounds more like all directions. It scares me. It's the kind of wind that knocks trees down, or just breaks them in half, and I'm glad Rick cut down the dead trees in our driveway this summer. At least now they won't fall on my car. I have to go out later today. I don't want to. I've spent most of the morning so far hiding in my office/closet, which is a lovely room in the center of the house, with no windows other than skylights. I feel safe in there when the crazy wind blows. Adobe houses don't shake or creak much with the wind, so if I just go in the office and play some music, I can almost ignore what's going on outside.

It's not my fault, this fear of wind. I used to love to go out walking on a blustery fall day. It must be a post traumatic something-something, from when the wind knocked me down right after we moved to Taos, ripping my arm out of the socket in the process, and breaking my shoulder. Never again will I attempt to hold onto something that's trying to fly away from me - in this case it was an EZ Up tent. If something wants to fly, away it goes. I guess that holds true for people and things and situations. When it's time to fly, there's little point in holding on. Best to let it all go.

My favorite quote for today is:

"Stressed spelled backwards is desserts. Coincidence? I think not!"Author Unknown

With that in mind, I've posted the recipe my absolutely perfected, delicious, and even healthy Chocolate Black Bean Cupcakes on PositivelyVegan. I intend to eat cake until the wind stops blowing.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Hey There, Sweet Potato

We are so darn popular all of a sudden. Unexpected, but welcome guests are dropping in this afternoon, so my day is different than I'd planned. Oh yeah - make a plan, and plan to change it. I'm going to tidy up the house and make some cupcakes. And rather than try to write two full blogs today, I'll stop here and send you over to PositivelyVegan, for a nice little recipe for Sweet Potato Dog Treats. Heidi & Lucy love 'em!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Avoidance Tactics

The more I have to do something, the more I don't want to. I really, really need to make some beads for the upcoming show, so what have I been doing? Cooking, of course.

I was almost-invited to cook for a small group of vegans attending a conference this week, at the hotel Rick works for. The owner decided to do it herself though, which I think might be a mistake, since she's not veg-inclined herself, and the main restaurant on the property is a steak house. I worry that she'll do something like cook a veggie burger on the same greasy grill as a cheeseburger. Eeewww. I don't even know these people, but I want them to be well fed, and well cared for. It's silly, and there's nothing I can do about it, so I'm letting it go. Besides, the hotel owner will learn some great things while she tends to these people. As always, I'm sure it's all working out perfectly.

But when the idea first came up, I had a dream about some lovely red bell peppers stuffed with a mixture of quinoa, jalapenos, apples, and toasted pine nuts, topped with a creamy cashew cheese sauce. So, not wanting to make beads yesterday, I made some peppers for instead. I had poblanos instead of red bells, and I think the bells would be better. I'll also add a little more sweetness to the stuffing next time, like currants or raisins to create a nice contrast with the spicy jalapenos. The cheesy sauce, however, was perfect. So more on all this once I get the whole dish just right.

While I worked/played with the peppers yesterday, I was also baking up some sweet potato dog treats, and inventing a marinade for the baked tofu I wanted for today's Tofu Tuesday offering on my other blog. It's all part of the creative process. We all create, although some of us don't realize it. I've had to figure out over the years that it's best to go with whatever it is that inspires me in the moment. If it's forced, it doesn't come from that Cosmic Pool of Divinity that lets things flow from us effortlessly and beautifully. Patience and a certain amount of surrender are key here, because when the timing is right, even those things I'm skillfully avoiding will come back to the top of the Inspiration List.

Maybe I'll make beads tomorrow. Today is all about the tofu.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Resting Up on Meatless Monday

It was a fun and busy weekend, with friends and family visiting, lots of cooking and eating, sight seeing and shopping, and not enough sleeping. I'm taking today slowly, doing one thing, and then the next thing, with no particular plan or goal. What gets done gets done. I think there will be a nap in the mix. And I'm ever so grateful that I don't have to figure out what to do with this mutant zucchini we met at the farmers market on Saturday...


And for Meatless Monday, check out my of Miso Happy Soup on Positively Vegan!